Stents May Not Be Better Than Drug Therapy in Some Heart Patients

06 November, 2017, 07:32 | Author: Hope Soto

Also, most of the time, doctors insert stents to those who suffer from acute chest pain, as the devices might relieve their ailment.

For six weeks, all the patients were treated with a blood pressure drug and medication to reduce their risk of a heart attack before the procedure. Stents should be relieving chest pain for those who suffer from angina, but the results show they might not actually be that necessary. The participants had a profound blockage but only in one artery, he noted, and they were assessed after just six weeks."We don't know if the conclusions apply to people with more severe disease", Maron said. However, we also place stents into patients who are getting pain only on exertion caused by narrowed, but not blocked, arteries.

During the study, carried out by Imperial College London cardiologist Dr Justin E Davies and his colleagues, a stent was inserted into half of the patients and a placebo operation, without inserting a stent, was performed on the other patients.

"Surprisingly, even though the stents improved blood supply, they didn't provide more relief of symptoms compared to drug treatments, at least in this patient group", Al-Lamee said in a university news release. She added, "While these findings are interesting and deserve more attention, they do not mean that patients should never undergo the [stent] procedure for stable angina".

The researchers intend to conduct further analysis of their data to find out if there are certain groups of patients who do benefit from stents.

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"It seems that the link between opening a narrowing coronary artery and improving symptoms is not as simple as everyone had hoped", Al-Lamee said.

A new study of 200 patients from the latter group throws questions on whether the use of stents in such patients is of any real medical value.

That said, the study can not be taken as conclusive or definitive at this point.

Dr Brown, a cardiologist, said stenting remains a "crucial treatment", particularly among patients intolerant to medication or medical therapy.

In fact, these cardiologists are calling for a downgrade in stent recommendations, citing the fact that over half a million patients in the US and Europe undergo stent treatment, and that a significant minority go through severe complications like heart attacks, stroke, kidney failure and even death. Subjecting these patients to those risks when no benefit can be achieved is irresponsible, they said.

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